Dallas College celebrated the “topping out” of its new Construction Sciences Building at Coppell Center, in a special ceremony held Thursday, Jan. 28. Topping out marks the placing of the final steel beam in a building project. The tradition began in ancient times when the ceremony was thought to bring good fortune to a structure. For Dallas College, it provides an opportunity to recognize the many partners who have played a role in building this state-of-the-art, 97,000 square foot facility.
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, this topping out was reserved but no less significant in the milestone it marks. Instead of a traditional signing of the beam, the various companies involved in completing the Construction Sciences Building submitted logo labels that were applied to the beam.
Dr. Joe May, chancellor of Dallas College, said that near-completion of the building during a pandemic is remarkable. “A hub for innovation and collaboration — this structure stands to provide challenging yet rewarding experiences that will prepare the next generation of construction leaders in Dallas County and beyond.
“We do not have to look far to witness the construction boom across the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex — with seemingly a new structure popping up each day,” Dr. May said. “We are producing tomorrow’s electricians and civil engineering specialists.”
The facility will support high-quality instruction in purpose-built, interactive, high-tech classrooms with adjacent laboratories for teaching demonstrations and active learning. Covered exterior lab space will allow for outdoor equipment use, mock-ups and assembly installations in various conditions and temperatures, as well as materials storage.
This is the first construction project nearing completion as part of Dallas College’s $1.1 billion bond package. The Construction Education Foundation (CEF) and industry partners have also provided input as well as monetary and in-kind donations topping $2 million to make this innovative building a reality.
“Every aspect of the building addresses the critical need for additional well-trained construction trade professionals, while opening the doors for countless students,” said Dr. Pyeper Wilkins, vice chancellor of Workforce and Advancement. “Construction would not have been possible without the generous support of our industry business partners and others in our community who recognize the important role we serve in growing DFW’s talent pipeline.”
“We at Texas AirSystems believe strongly in giving back to our North Texas construction industry,” said Rusty Vaughn, vice president of business development for Texas AirSystems. “Countless companies [including Texas AirSystems] donated to the construction of this new state-of-the-art building which will serve as a beacon to raise the bar for construction-related training. The relationship and partnership between the North Texas construction industry, CEF and Dallas College serves as a model for all of North America.”
The Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) silver certified building is just months away from welcoming students for the Fall 2021 semester. “Not only is the building energy efficient, but the building itself will serve as a teaching tool with building systems exposed and available for students,” said Dr. Christa Slejko, president of Dallas College North Lake Campus.
Dallas ISD Wilmer-Hutchins E-TECH Early College High School students will be among the first to start their construction education in the new building.
“The building design represents the commitment of both Dallas College and the construction industry to attract more individuals to careers in construction,” Dr. Slejko said. “This is a modern, technology-driven facility where students and professionals will enjoy coming to learn.”